, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 51–56 | Cite as

In Situ TEM Scratch Testing of Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Multilayers with a Novel MEMS Tribometer

  • Eric D. HintsalaEmail author
  • Douglas D. Stauffer
  • Yunje Oh
  • S. A. Syed Asif


Utilizing a newly developed two-dimensional (2D) transducer designed for in situ transmission electron microscope (TEM) nanotribology, deformation mechanisms of a perpendicular magnetic recording film stack under scratch loading conditions were evaluated. These types of films are widely utilized in storage devices, and loss of data by grain reorientation in the recording layers is of interest. The observed deformation was characterized by a stick–slip mechanism, which was induced by a critical ratio of lateral to normal force regardless of normal force. At low applied normal forces, the diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating and asperities in the recording layer were removed during scratching, while, at higher applied forces, grain reorientation and debonding of the recording layer was observed. As the normal force and displacement were increased, work for stick–slip deformation and contact stress were found to increase based upon an Archard’s Law analysis. These experiments also served as an initial case study demonstrating the capabilities of this new transducer.


Hard Disc Drive Piezo Actuation Asperity Height Comb Drive Recording Layer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to acknowledge their anonymous collaborators in the hard disc drive industry for providing the samples with which this work was done.

Supplementary material

11837_2016_2154_MOESM1_ESM.mp4 (9.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (MP4 9836 kb)
11837_2016_2154_MOESM2_ESM.mp4 (6.8 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (MP4 6916 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric D. Hintsala
    • 1
    Email author
  • Douglas D. Stauffer
    • 1
  • Yunje Oh
    • 1
  • S. A. Syed Asif
    • 1
  1. 1.Hysitron, IncorporatedEden PrairieUSA

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